October 31, 2011

Librarians Fighting Back Against Big Budget Cuts

When I was very young, shortly after my father died, I remember my mother instituting a Friday night ritual.  She would pick me up after school, and we would go to the local branch of the public library.  I could check out as many books as I wanted! She would, too.  We would each roam the stacks, selecting carefully.  We might sit in the big chairs, too, and read awhile.  Afterwards, we would go Out To Eat.  Usually, to a small Mom and Pop Chinese Food Place that I still remember as being so exotic with its red and gold dragons and silk kimono wall hangings.  I could drink hot tea out of a little ceramic bowl, and I could bring one book into the restaurant with me.  Such a decision.

That little branch library was such a special place for me.  I was 7 years old, in a new city and a new school and with a mother who wasn't dealing all that well at all with the loss of her husband.  Books.  Books are one thing.  They are friends, sometimes lifelong companions.  Teachers, too.  But libraries.  Libraries are sanctuaries, treasure caves, shrines.  Libraries are important.  Important at all times, but especially these days.

I follow the news about budget cuts to public libraries with dread and fear and that small girl in me is afraid for her library.  For the libraries beloved by other folk, in other parts of the country.  What will happen?  Consider this: in Texas this summer, funding to state libraries was cut by 88% (yes, eighty-eight percent; that's no typo). 

So, it's very nice to learn about Librarians Fighting Back -- like those this week up in Chicago, where they not only signed a petition against budget cuts, but they also had a "Story Time" down at City Hall, where the librarians read books to the kids, right there on the threshold of the Mayor's Office.  Cool stuff.

October 3, 2011

Revenge on ABC TV: Tracking How It Rehashes Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo

After reading the script from the TV pilot, offered as a promo by ABC TV on Amazon long before the TV series Revenge began, I already caught that the writers were rehashing one of my favorites: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

I'm not the only one who thinks so:  HitFlix agrees (and isn't impressed), and a blurb at E!Online calls Revenge "a modern reimagining" of the Dumas novel.

Over at Shnugi.com, they are monitoring Revenge as it plays out every Wednesday, tracking how the show follows along with the Count.  It's fun; check it out at their post, Characters from ABC’s Revenge compared to the Count of Monte Cristo.  In fact, knowing the Dumas' novel may help make Revenge a better show for those of us that know the book than for those who haven't read it.  (Or I suppose, seen one of the gazillion movie versions of it.)

I agree with Shnugi:  Emily Thorne is the revenge-seeking Count of Monte Cristo; however, now she's a girl, Amanda Clarke aka Emily.  That's not hard.  After that, it's still early -- and very fun to try and figure out how they're going to cram all that good stuff from the book into this miniseries.  Like how Edmond Dantes sought his own revenge, but here you have the victim of betrayal dead and his daughter planning vengeance.  (Sure, the book is better.)

For instance, is Shnugi right: is Emily Thorne going to be Benedetto?  Hmmmm.......

Meanwhile, if you want to read the book upon which Revenge is based, you can read the Count of Monte Cristo right now, for free.  It's available at Amazon, for example, as a freebie (there's lots more freebies and great deals there, by the way: check out my post over on my simplicity blog on that score, "Amazon's Top 100 Free EBooks - There are Some Great Bargains Here.")

October 2, 2011

National Novel Writing Month Begins on November 1, 2011: Will You Participate?

In less than 30 days, it will once again be National Novel Writing Month ("NaNoWriMo").  For all the official information, check out the homepage where things are provided like FAQs, Forums, Breaking News, etc. 

What's it all about?  Writing 50,000 words in 30 days time.  As a fiction novel.  Or, I suppose a non-fiction novel works just as well: the key is to get a novel done, first draft, start to finish within the time frame of November 1st to November 30th. 

You're not alone.  People all over the place take up the NaNoWriMo gauntlet each year.  There are local groups that get together to write at coffee shops, for example, supporting each other in getting that word count. 

In addition to the help provided at the official web site, there's also a Facebook page for National Novel Writing Month as well as a Twitter feed that's begun already as "sprints" during October, to prepare participants for the November word marathon.  Interested? Check it out at @NaNoWordSprints.

I haven't decided if I will participate this year.  Mulling it over. 

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